The Sports Daily > Redskins Hog Heaven
Mike Shanahan Shows More Love to Roy Helu and Redskins’ 2011 Draft Class

Roy Helu

At the start of the season, your Redskins Hog Heaven writers told you two things about the 2011 Redskins:

1. The team would be competitive with both Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback. The key words were “both” and “competitive.”

2. You will like the 2011 team even if they finish with the same record as 2010. We predicted seven wins for the team. You will like them because the Draft Class of 2011 promises a brighter future than any Redskins team in the past 10 years.

We used “both” because Greg and I expected Mike Shanahan to bench Grossman for Beck as some point in the season. Greg nailed it when he predicted that Shanahan would switch to Beck for the Carolina game and back to Grossman by the Jets game. (If you don’t believe it, check RHH’s September 11 post here.)

We used “competitive” because we expect the Redskins to be close in many games, but only win seven of them.

The Redskins scored 24 points in the loss to the Cowboys and 23 points in yesterday’s win over the Seahawks. There is a good and a bad in this.

The good is that Coach Shanahan might have accepted, finally, that he has to win with imperfection. Like him or not, Grossman is the best quarterback on the team. If you play him, you will get interceptions and fumbles. With Grossman, the fumbles as a likely as the INTs. But, Grossman is the “win now” quarterback who gives his team the best shot to overcome his own mistakes. I was impressed that Sexy threw his go-ahead scoring strike one play after his intentional grounding penalty.

Veterans tend not to be rattled. That’s why coaches stick with them, often for too long. John Beck isn’t there yet. That is the biggest difference between Beck and Grossman. (If the coach wants better choices at quarterback, he should make better roster choices.)

That touches on the bad of the past two games and on point No. 2 above. Coach Shanahan hurt the team by not giving more game reps to his younger players.

Roy Helu should have been the starting running back five games ago when the ‘Skins placed Tim Hightower in injured reserve.

The Redskins may have pumped Tashard Choice for everything he knew about the Cowboys and it may have helped. But, giving him six carries in the Cowboys game was a theft from Helu’s and Evan Royster’s development. Helu and Royster have futures here. Choice never did. Signing a Cowboys benchwarmer with a record of declining performance does not make our team better than the Cowboys.

True strategic thinking demands that every move advance the strategy. Signing Choice was tactical for a limited application. That made it something of a waste.

If Shanahan had a handshake agreement to give Choice his shot against his old team, I’ll allow it, I guess. But you have to get enough out of the deal to win. The Redskins lost, notwithstanding the improved scoring. Choice wasn’t work keeping until the end of the season.

Every player move the Redskins make this season must be with an eye to winning now and in the future. Washington is doing that with Ryan Kerrigan. They could have done more with Helu who has yet to have his breakout game. The Redskins should have promoted Royster to the active roster and given him carries before now. Yes, I am making a statement about what Ryan Torain brings the team. Royster may have more upside, even in a back-up role.

Coaches have to keep faith with their players. That’s why Torain sees action and Beck has hope in his future here. Shanahan has to keep his promises. Make those promises to young players in the Draft Class of 2011—the ones you are grooming to win now and win in the future.

From the outside looking in, the Redskins seem weak on the strategic vision. That organizational fault helps to explain what the Redskins sign good people as players and coaches, then fail to get the best from them. And it explains why we so many of those players do better elsewhere after they leave Washington.

Point after: We appreciate your patience. Our output has been light of late. Remember, please, that we are bloggers who follow the Redskins for the love of the team. RHH is our avocation, not our jobs. Sometimes, life intrudes. Last week was one of those times. You will see more output here as we get back to our regularly scheduled broadcasting.

By the way, It is my priviledge to contribute stories about the NNFL to Bloguin’s new This Given Sunday blog. If you are looking for another source of insightful, humerous coverage of our favorite league, follow the jump to This Given Sunday